Hein and Moon take up a serious problem of contemporary global governance: what can be done when international trade rules prevent the realization of basic human rights? Starting in the 1990s, intellectual property obligations in trade agreements required many developing countries to begin granting patents on medicines. Patent monopolies enabled high drug prices that could render them unaffordable for the majority of the population. In the context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, these rules clashed with the urgent need of millions of people for access to patented antiretroviral medicines. At stake was the question of what priority would be given to health-particularly of some of the world's poorest people-and what priority to economic interests, particularly those of the most powerful states and firms. After a decade of heated political contestation, an informal but robust and powerful global norm had emerged that all people should have access to essential medicines. This book recounts the remarkable story of the access to medicines movement and offers an explanation for how the "access norm" emerged against long odds. It also explores the stability and scope of the norm with respect to other diseases and emerging economies. Finally, in light of the high barriers to changing formal global trade rules, the book considers the potential and limitations of informal norms for protecting human rights, and when renewed focus on changing formal norms may be warranted.Biografía del autor:
Wolfgang Hein, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Germany and Suerie Moon, Harvard University, USA.
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